Dear Auntie, what do you recommend to do if you have talked to a parent about serious issues that your feeling inside, but they never really help try to make a change? It’s almost like it goes in one ear and out the other, and I have no clue what I can do.
It can be hard when you feel like you are not being heard, especially when it’s about something that took bravery to speak of in the first place. Why is this happening?
There could be several reasons why your parent is having a hard time hearing you:
- Don’t grow up! Parents can have a hard time hearing their maturing child talk about sensitive topics. They can actually feel threatened by this. And sometimes they just don’t want to let you go.
- Parents are Human too! It might be hard to consider the fact that your parent is not perfect. And when their child brings up some serious stuff, they might freak out a little and maybe pretend they didn’t hear you. Lame? For sure. But maybe cut them a little slack.
Here are some things you can do to make sure your parent is hearing you:
- Set the stage. Find a neutral, quiet place to talk to your parent and start off with, “Mom/Dad, I have been trying to talk to you about something that has been going on with me and I need for you to listen because it is not easy for me to talk to you about this.”
- Be straight up. Tell them everything you feel like you need to tell them. If it helps, try writing it down first, then bring your notes with you, so you can make sure to say all that you need to say.
- Ask for Help. When you’ve finished telling your parent all that you want to, end by asking them for their help. You can say, “So now that you know what is going on, I really need your help in figuring out what to do next. Can you help me?”
TRUTH: A lot of times we hear If something is wrong; Tell your parents. And, while you’re parents are a great resource, they are just humans who make mistakes and may not be able to get you help. So, if after you have talked to your parent and they still can’t get you help, find someone else. Try another trusted adult like your school counselor, or a teacher.
Other places to find help:
- Teens Health and Teens WebMD have some tips to make it easier to talk to parents.
- ReachOut– has a great website you can live chat on or a 1-800-448-3000 number you can call to talk to someone. Rest assured, help is out there. If you need support at any time, you can call any of these free confidential services: us.reachout.com/get-help/getting-help-in-a-crisis
- National Youth Crisis Hotline is another great resource to call: 1-800-448-4663
What’s important is that you get the help you need, whether it be from your parent, another trusted adult, or a helpline. Kudos to you for reaching out and taking care of yourself!